XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Reaching the unreached: innovative sexual and reproductive health programming with young people most at risk in cities

A. Mishra, L. Chigona, P. Kimmumve, S. Ali, J.C. Louis

Panos Global AIDS Programme, Port au Prince, Haiti

Issues: Though HIV prevalence among young people is declining in several countries, a significant number of young people continue to be infected with HIV. Studies have shown that adolescent sexual health services are not reaching groups outside of the mainstream and at highest risk for infection, such as those who are not attending school; or living on the streets.
Description: The overall objective of the project is to improve sexual and reproductive health services for most at risk, out of school young people especially girls in four cities by educating, building life skills and empowering them to communicate their concerns to decision makers. It will work with the media to train journalists on issues facing young out of school children to ensure that public debate and discussion around their concerns is stimulated in the four cities. The project will also sensitise key policy makers and decision makers at city and national level to concerns of young people most at risk.
Lessons learned: To be effective programmes for young people should be based on evidence, tailored to local realities and developed with the participation of young people with attention to engaging those most at risk. To bring about change it is most important to provide young people with opportunities to highlight the challenges they face themselves rather than have a secondary partner act as a mediator. Innovative communication methodologies will not only increase knowledge levels of hard to reach adolescents but also help them in providing firsthand accounts and evidence of access of services to key stakeholders. Such immediacy is likely to promote greater empathy, and promote more lively debate.
Next steps:
Best practice, project findings and lessons learnt will be disseminated widely to policy makers and programme planners to improve sexual and reproductive programming for young people.

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